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Career Transitions: 2 Insight-Provoking Questions When "Starting Over"

In 2017, the blueprint I had crafted for my life evaporated before my eyes.


Up until that point, I had systematically checked off the steps to becoming an Air Force Oral Surgeon. I was in the Air Force, and I was in oral surgery residency. I had signed an initial contract with the Air Force for 13 years, thinking "Clearly- I'll stay at least 20 years." My life was set... Until it wasn't.


By 2017, I accepted that oral surgery may not be the right path for me and the existential crisis took a toll mentally and physically. The impact would lead to a medical discharge from the military- 4 years into my initial 13 year commitment.


My slate was blank. My professional identities gone. What the heck do I do?


Been there?


When reflecting on what led me oral surgery, I realized I lost myself in much of the pressure of external advice and societal influence. I ignored internal alarm sirens and prioritized what others thought I should do. I solicited a vast array of advice, and then neglected to sit with myself and listen to what my mind, body, and soul all had to say. Instead, I gave the external influences and my ego the power to carve the path, even when my body and soul were rebelling.


...Whoops... My bad. Thankfully, I have learned a lot since then, but the lessons sure were costly.


What I learned is that there is great value in hearing about opportunities and opinions from other people. I appreciate all of the perspectives I was given. However, what I missed is the importance of cultivating connection with our true nature and using the information from within to be the main guide of our decisions. I let external pressures have way too much authority, and I know I am not alone.


By the time I lifted my head up, I thought- I am completely lost. How did I get here?


Sound familiar?


While there are many questions that we can ask ourselves as we explore next steps, I will walk you through two simple insight-provoking questions that I found extremely helpful.


So- here we are. Blank slate. What should I do?


 In order to gain clarity, I invite you to take all of the information and advice gathered from experiences in life to date... and then go sit (or walk/run/cycle/movement of choice).. alone.. while considering these 2 questions:


  1. What would I do if no one knew what I was doing? Not family, not friends, not social media. (Removes external pressures)

  2. What things have I tended to do when my mind was free to do whatever it wanted? (Exposes internal interests, values, talents, gifts)

If you've been out of touch with yourself for awhile, it may be hard to tease apart internal and external influences and voices. I highly recommend Martha Beck's book "The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self" and partnering with a coach who may help you seek the answers you have deep within yourself.


"Peace is your home, integrity is the way to it, and everything you long for will meet you there."

-Martha Beck-



Much Love,

Jillian




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